REDMOND, Wash., April 24 (UPI) -- Microsoft unveiled a student-friendly version of its search service, Bing, which has no ads, privacy controls and filters that block adult content.
The program, called "Bing in the Classroom," is part of an earlier pilot project called "Bing for Schools" and will be available to all eligible K-12 public and private schools in the U.S. Schools can register with Microsoft for the free service, which, according to the company, is currently being used by over 4.5 million students.
Microsoft launched the pilot project in five of the country's largest school districts to see if removing marketing content from its search service helped students with their schoolwork and to better develop learning abilities.
"I teach kindergarten through fifth-grade media classes, and as soon as I started using Bing in the Classroom, I noticed my kids being more attentive and focused in class," Washington's Bremerton School District media specialist Lynda Shipley said in a statement.
"We all know advertisements can be distracting, and with Bing in the Classroom I don't have to worry about inappropriate content getting in the way of the lesson plan or students' research," she added.
Microsoft estimates that 15 billion search ads are displayed to students while they are in school. Students who search for something on Bing or any other search engine will get a mixture of resources, ads, company websites and other online resources. This service will give them only the resources they need for learning.
In order to encourage people to help schools, Microsoft's Bing Rewards program will encourage users to earn credits towards Surface tablets for a school of their choice, simply by signing up and searching with Bing.
Microsoft, which lags behind Google and Yahoo in the search business, is attempting to expand the reach of its service by providing students with clean searches that could earn them brownie points or some favorability among teachers and parents.